BoW 2 (Gather and Manifest): tutor report

Here is the report from the tutorial from 31 July for part 2 of BoW.

Two items here for reference, the rest in the document below:

Project proposal (if any change) (student)

To refocus towards the attention on process and material shifts rather than taking performance as key to the project.

To explore drawing/contact within the parameters of the methodology that I have already begun to articulate and test and experiment with a view to gain an understanding on:

  • expectations of the work
  • digital and analogue forms of these
  • the types of relationships between objects and the overall container, holding framework, assemblage of the work

Critical Reflection (space to critically reflect on the work across both units) (student)

Role of concepts of near space, site and moving-with to create a terminology to describe a performative action (of drawing in an expanded field)

>> the methodology for the project needs further unpacking and articulating: where does it come from and where does it reach.

>> here the glossary that Rachel suggested for Research is indeed useful (possibly to explore and make connections, to refine – not necessarily to define down) [I am thinking of e.g. Raymond Williams’ Keywords].

BoW then would become the place where I figure out practically what the methodology is for the ideas concerning near space, drawing/contact and moving-with.

Part of my own reflections (and which didn’t come into the report) are here: tutorial reflections 1: what is (source) material?

concept map 2.0 for BoW: drawing/contact and near space

Following submission of BoW A2: gather/manifest, I sat down and revised the concept map that I made for BoW A1. Notably, I have clarified as to what concerns its modality (methodology and artistic practice) and how the concept of near space provides the substantive focus (between drawing as means and contact as intent).

Quite a few aspects are still not articulated but rather loosely grouped together. However, this will serve for the next round of focus but also provides a direction for the next Research assignment and how to achieve a stronger focusing in on key aspects.

Mindmap Theme BoW July 2019


critical reflection: modality of BoW

Screenshot 2019-07-28 at 13.33.01
Detail of updated concept map for BoW (July 2019): modality/methodology

As material for the dissertation:

The process of shifting back and forth as the process of the Body of Work and how produces itself and links to the dissertation.
  • the gap pointed to it: what is opened up
  • the photocopier manual, (m)use me, and the parallel project present its practice
  • the line as practice to deal with the social subject matter (and so does: office at night; the corridor work and other green: contact, secrets, gossip)
Katrina Palmer’s Loss Adjuster is good for process and shift
Juliana Spahr’s Army of Lovers, Everyone connected, The transformation as container and focus on new materialism and relationality within
Bhanu Kapil as for fragmentation and moving between different materials.
Joan Jonas and Rosemarie Trockel for holding these togethers (perhaps some like Doris Salcedo too?)
Friedrich Kittler opened the door to this and should be at the heart as conceptual/ methodological question
The smallness and the unimportance as guiding question to judge vis-a-vis artistic canon.

How to trace this through the BoW:

Reworking the concept map from February made some of these processes clearer: what is the how and the what: I had discussed as key outcome/ process a series of performance formats (solo; 1:1; and group) but wonder if that is the process really and if the process is not a tracing, following, pursuing of material shifts and registers; and that performance (through the inclusion of others, and a focus on the body) is merely a format that facilitates that.
In June I collated a few thoughts as to material contact:
clay experiments (following the Bleakeley performance)
darkroom and contact printing
screenprinting again
then: in the sketchbook:
  • the transferral of marks to the next page,
  • the pick up of graphite on previous pages
  • see through/ fold
  • (it is again processes that have intrigued me for a long time; possibly it is the link to indexicality again here that also concerns the interest in the ‘contact’ concern for the wider project)
  • most actual drawings in the sketchbook are 10-15mins pieces while on the bus: layering fleeting views on top of each other, repeating and reworking. I did 12-15 of these over four journeys. They are not about indexicality. Yet, in some sense I feel they are relevant in terms of the drawing marks and in terms of what is connected through the moving through?
I also think the drawing on top of templates/copies is part of this too, and so is much around photocopying; and indeed the work with the typewriter in late March.
As in D2 I find a hesitancy towards material processes, as if they sidetrack me too much. I don’t think that I don’t experiment enough (which was one of the discussions over the material processes in D2), but I think I struggle to explicate or name what I am experimenting with.
As plan for Part 3 I want to focus on the processes themselves and pursue a range of them to explore what kind of register shifts are occurring (and, so my thought: are constitutive of the near space, the contact).

a week on Agios Achilleios as site

For my travels to Greece I made a travel album, which then during the week at the Made of Walking encounters/conference became a research site.

The album is here: τους πελεκάνους μου.

The closing post to the album is this one:

EDIT: my phone browser also misbehaves and forgets to place it into the album 😮
my browser Fb misbehaves and doesn’t let me post, so let me type this on the phone:
– i think this post concludes my pelican adventures.
– i think that most of the memory pieces i wanted to place next to each other i have now
– what i realised that i wanted to try was to seek a container to place next to each other a variety of things, meetings, sights and smells that came together in that week in Prespes
– there were two points when i realised that so much was mingling that i wanted to treat it as a field site and become a keen observer with interest:
(a) institutional processes and critique came together with both my inside/outside and my family album work in a site combining several key aspects of what i am concerned with in my work over the past four years
(b) Jen and then others started to talk about my FB posts and placed them offline again; and while not for the first time but for the first time with people who didn’t or hardly knew me, did i have a form in which the different forms of conversation mingled and informed each other;
>> that i was going to talk a few days later on a project which employed these two strands also, was perfect and too good to miss
>> i kind of used this then to make my own project (and sought some links to what is to be my final year work)
all else from this will sit in my sketchbook album (i add a link below, most of you will have access to it, should you not, drop me a message and i will add you)
there is something about the (fraught, failing) attempt to build a closed situation, room, site and i am keen to test this for this material. we did discuss in the past a corridor, a Fischli & Weiss machinery, i had dreamt of a world of Ursula Le Guin, a stage with Joan Jonas, Carole referenced Katrina Palmer’s Loss adjuster on Portland, i also think about the space the Sonic Seance show has set up at the CCA currently and bak invites for a training for an otherwise futurity. — many of these will be too ambitious. i think what interests me is as before the leaking and the blurring, the open fuzzy edges and i am pleased to have all the bus journey sketches around Kozani which go some way towards this.
i also am grateful to have tested the notion of gossip a little further. i have a lot of respect for it. found myself at various turns of the week being made to decide one or another. felt the hot spots of conversations travelling, adjusted some posts, didn’t write others and then on other occasions found myself surprised at what tender things it also was generative of. now with this having passed, i sense acutely the absence of those close and frequent iterations and interactions that made it possible to write like that. now it has firmly become a thing past and of reflection. i have lost the careful hold and sensation in my finger tips to gauge one thing or another (or to be wrong), so as a practice, this is also no longer a possibility.
oh: and i almost entirely forgot Susan Hiller’s Dream Machine and that beautifully fraught Soviet apartment room recreation at the Tate.


For my work for the two modules, some of this can be drawn out further:

>> totality/ situation:

it relates to other sites, events:

  • Corridor as institutional site (with Green and other Green)
  • the line as body of work

My interest is in:

  • details events processes that are held in temporal and spatial proximity (maybe even just through my attention, there is no assumption that it is causal or functional)
  • part of that attention then concerns memory/ focus but also subjectivity
  • what gets deposited, contained and what doesn’t or can’t
  • so the totality/ situation/ event is one with open, blurry or fuzzy edges: things are bleeding in and out (does it make sense to focus on the blood?)

As much as this concerns the source material for a work, it also gives an indication over how to present it, how to realise it: Since House in 2015 I had thought of a room, an installation to re-access the site, to make it public. Similarly: there as an idea during D2 to do something similar with the corridor, to remodel it, to situate it elsewhere. Effectively, too, the work around Office at Night did something similar in its final realisation.

There are a series of ideas, possibilities from this:

  • a construction of a physical site to contain and hold together objects deemed relevant
  • a visual realisation (such as concept maps, presentation) or a publishing form that achieves something similar.

The kinds of materials gathered are small, ordinary, fleeting (and this makes a little clearer to me what I had initially written as the ordinary, every day in the first statement/ outline). So, the collection/archive/situation (I will need to have a closer look at what this is) is constituted in ordinary form, encounters, events, gestures.


There are a series of influences and references (many not new):

Katrina Palmer’s End Matter / Loss Adjuster

Joan Jonas larger performance cycles (I have one in mind in particular, I will need to look this up)

Juliana Spahr’s writings (This connection of everyone with with lungs, Army of Lovers and The transformation) that all try to assemble and hold in relation a whole range of things.

Fischli & Weiss’s installations were a reference point for the parallel project of D2 (and possibly to fold forward).

I had also revisited the Andy Warhol materials that informed the formation of the line (the diamond dusted screenprints but also Gilda Williams’s writing on Silver Sliver and the close attention to when present becomes past in his work).

One current show at the CCA in Glasgow, Sonic Seance presents a series of collaborative works around music, performance and spoken work in a setting that takes in two rooms, one an ante-chamber with sofas and reading materials; the other, larger one, has four screens with a video looping in each, some printed textile banners, many cushions and floor seating around a few tables, a wall-spanning projection of some grasses and above all and scent infusing the whole setting in fairly low lighting (the scent is for me just past comfortable and just about not making me feel nauseous).

I also, one reflection of my sketches and drawings for this, and how the sketchbook is developing, have been returning to Rosemarie Trockel’s work, notably the drawings and zines that I saw several years ago at Talbot Rice. There is a review of the show here, and it is good in capturing my memory of the show and what intrigued me in her drawings but also in the exhibition of her book drafts under glass.


critical reflections: source/materials

Collecting the notes from the two modules, I reread the coursebook and consider the instruction to explore, following an investigation of Marilene Olivier’s process and practice of what constitutes mine, notably along the line of:

theme — material — process

My notes, after some hesitation, state:


— I had arrived at this through DI&C, notably the line, and then formalised it when compiling my materials in different forms and formats for assessment of D2. It is helpful, and in other ways also not, as it doesn’t help me organise them, help me shift them around and making them at once familiar and strange in the process.

I turn a page and start to collate what I have — being doubtful that I actually done enough ‘manifesting’, having remained and explored different route in great enough depth (the breadth wasn’t the problem, but I felt I had again flitted from a to k, and then to y).

This is a first collation of the materials that I drew into the process of gathering and manifesting:


I added a few more notes to this since and on the next page started to spell out which notes (i.e. FB posts) relate to these and take them further (often in text, reflection or experimental; often in visuals to, these are generally stills or a/v sketches; less frequent are actual drawings).

I also flick back a few pages and annotate the theme/material/process further: the struggle over fixing these is that they seem to sit at the far edges of what I again understand to be artistic practice: much is conceptual, performative, but also in either form rather common (it is not a stage performance but a testing of processes, materials and edges).

There is little in the previous modules that prepared me for such a practice, it seems (and still I see such a practice all around me: the artists in Glasgow, the presentations at SAR etc., so I know it is perfectly fine as practice, but it rubs up against some of the earlier learning). In one of the coursebooks I read a line about how to proceed with a conceptual practice.

The materials and investigations are fairly substantial in what they are; yet, with how they sit in form and notation, I see why they easily slide out of view/ attention. So, over the past couple of days I started to collate them (and will continue to do that for a few more days) and then submit once I am back in the UK in the second half of July.

There are a series of questions for me right now:

  • what is the role of the moving image material, notably the films: there is something in the set that I noted down here that is really important.
    • what is it?
    • what role can it have?
    • what form can it have?
  • the role of books/zines for my work and the place for software/apps?
    • InDesign for the imposter zine and expectation/will
    • digital/anologue
    • but also: early powerpoint slides for some of the diagrams
  • audience/ public:
    • most my sketchbook still resides in FB and I moved some of these across, I keep the formatting as it seems relevant to denote the origin/translation process (but will investigate this a little further)
    • this has been a key focus recently:
      • the reposting of the line in FB
      • I invited people explicitly to a limited public album
      • the interactions with the Bleakley and Giles performances
      • the question of who is the public for expectation/will and the gap performance scores
  • what is the relationship sketchbooks and blog?
    • it relates to the notion of audience/public
    • it also relates to the investigation of form
    • I added a number of FB posts as sketchbook to the blog (namely for April), and will continue this for this part of BoW and investigate how to proceed.
  • materiality:
    • what is the kind of manifestation for this work?
    • what constitutes the work (as in questions concerning what constitutes the performance?
    • how do I address my desire/ joy to handle stuff with my hands
  • the role of movement in drawing/contact
    • it runs through much of this: as edge, transgression, volition
    • moving-with as key concept for the line text
    • how does this shift the focus? what do I lose by doing so?

I take these two at the lake shore, yesterday, they fit:


— I have been busy. I also have been recording things that I have done and will move more of them here to the sketchbook and write up as relevant parts to coursework.

A couple of days ago was the already postponed submission date for the BoW 2/ Gather and manifest. I let it pass: I had thought of pulling things together but also felt that the more dialogical/public/relational aspects of it still needed further pushing about.

What I have been busy with was a series of writing/publishing projects. And in that process, I also considered Research further and how to proceed with it. I will rejig it and step further away from the coursework. I wrote (as I know I do) about 5k on the line for the conference publication within a few weeks. The piecemeal leading towards the dissertation doesn’t work for me, I find I am picking arguments with it (and that is only productive in a certain extent). So, I think I will set a series of writing tasks/ projects as equivalent to the module stages and take it from there.

I am also thinking about the idea of defining down and focusing in as discussed in the last tutorial (the report of which will go up after this post, I had it for several weeks — it is here). I think I am really not interested in defining things down — it goes back to the interesting discussion Rachel and I had about ambiguity. So much of what my writing and focus has been over the past few years is an opening out, a holding in tension, and linking to — and I don’t mean with that a ‘more, more’ or just any old stuff, but a rather careful and measured approach towards what elsewhere is considered emergence, or even some of the nomadic theory of Braidotti will hold a hand towards this approach. So, the idea of a glossary for the dissertation is a really good one, but what if it works more like Raymond Williams’s Keywords: a link, emergence, a holding in tension, not an undue tightening down?

I think I will explore this further and am reminded of the pieces of writing that I recently got sent (let me post and link these two.).

sketchbook: gathering (the line, artistic practice, concepts of drawing/contact)

— I have been busy. Busy also with things that will eventually move into here and serve me both for Research and BoW.

I had my first discussion with Rachel, my Research tutor, and used part of that to figure out some of my current questions about the DI&C project the line (I had posted a brief note for her just before the tutorial here).

What I am figuring out is really four things:

  • the relationship between gossip, violence and pleasure — in the context of the project that sat as networked/digital identities; for my wider things it concerns what I have also discussed as the delineation of public/private; the questions of family archives, auto/theory fiction, performative and unstable/unreliable narrators.
  • the relationship of that kind of work (which in drawing/contact finds a more intimate, closer focus and intention) to its audience
  • the conceptual/methodological frame for this work but also for my wider working practice: how do I research, work with text and concept?
  • what constitutes methodology, an artistic practice and a new piece of work, and what is the relation to the original, else-where originating work.

I am in the process of writing a 3-4k text about the work that will be the basis for a 15 mins talk > in the context of a walking/arts conference, so part of how I address the latter is an interest in movement (analogue/digital) as a walking methodology (and with that I am close to my ideas about the body as drawing tool, of movement/performance and the sensorial).

In this, I republished the line as a Facebook album; I wrote an account of this process and observed it; I also investigate a written form for a spoken work, multi-layered visual body of work. I have found the concerns over linearity, progression and multiplicity really useful in understanding what my interest in this work is but also how it functions best (as I realised it in the context of DI&C’s focus on digital identities) and what other forms and processes are lying dormant in it.

I have also re-recorded some of the videos (one as visual; two as audio). Doing so, I added a contemporary position and framing to this. This, along with feeding it through FB is immediately productive of new material, new work, and so the manuscript in itself already presents a new piece of work being generated.

The work purposefully seeks contact (by exploring dialogues, encounters, past and present) and is relational, small-scale and intimate. It is at once private and at once, in its public present not. The purpose of presenting this work as mine (either through the Facebook account, or in person through a talk) rearticulates it and asks a whole series of questions about authorship, subject/object of work and audience. The latter have only sporadically featured in my previous modules and I am finding the disentangling of key questions here really useful.

(I had decided not to fold the conference presentations into course work as such — the form is too academic for me to hold much interest for either Research or BoW — but what I am doing here is serving as a basis for some key points of the research as well as of my artistic practice and how it informs the programme for BoW, more of that to follow).


sketchbook+: the line folds into Level 3

(as a placeholder in advance of Research tutorial 1).

— the piece of previous work that I have spent most time with over the past four weeks is the final work produced during Digital Image & Culture: the line, which I finalised as a tumblr site, and am currently in the process of re-publishing through facebook as a public album.

The line is also the piece on which my submission to the Walking Arts Network conference in Prespes, Greece, is based. So I am currently also in the process of writing a 3-4k word contribution for a conference publication as well as considering how it will present as a 15-min talk/presentation.

As part of the re-publishing process I am keeping an offline journal which I will move here at some point. There are some thoughts I have here right now in terms of how to proceed (and what can become part of Res or BoW and what is best kept aside).

Here some notes from this morning:

I have the strong sense that the line is crucial for moving forward. I want to test some of that with Rachael in our first tutorial today.
  • the line as fragmented space that is very much non-linear
  • the line as imaginary and anchor to the pieces articulated
  • the pieces articulated are diverse:
    • private chat
    • dreams/thoughts/fantasy
    • more functional notes and records
    • methodology concerns
    • fragments from other authors
  • there is no clear order as to how they are encountered: they are clearly not a singular line to be walked but multiplicity
There is much in here that is definitely about near space: about relational concepts and about performance.
The performance is in my voice but also in the conceal/reveal that is taking place
The current re-publishing through FB (as suggested at assessment) is testing some of that but also any relationship between audience and work/.


Critical Reflection after Res A1

— the tab critical reflection acts as the hinge between the two courses (I have one here, as well as a private one as an evernote folder).

The research proposal is written, thought a fair bit longer than asked for (and it still only reviews key work/resources in 250 words).

I must admit the uncertainty over the relationship of requested tasks (what and how to review, write out, clarify, clarify further) and my own plans seems confusing still: I end up with a far too wide field when I pursue the instructions. It is generative of a lot of text and then wants a very brief text only. (I have no problem with the questions and tasks it asks: the reviews are useful; I think there is struggle is that the text is rather prescriptive in pursuit but offers no tools to tighten and focus: the proposal wants five themes addressed in 1000 words).

I have seen and reviewed a fair bit of work: live performances in different registers; I watched a series of films too and explored their cinematography, script and framing devices; I have read key pieces of fiction writing that I identified as key for my interests and a fair amount of academic work too. Attending the SAR conference mid-March was really important: both to test out my own work (though any feedback was largely self-derived and little came forward from audience) but also to see where my work relates to and can be situated within. I wrote a couple of these up on the blog, but there are a few other artists still key to what has influenced my thinking about performance, intimacy, site and drawing. I have also had my proposition to move the line from online video work to photo essay and to consider its methodology as walking methodology accepted for a conference in Northern Greece (Walking Arts Network).

While during A1 of BoW I was still exploring the extent to which I move anything that sits closer to academic involvements as actively a part of BoW (conference presentations, the concept maps etc), I have stepped somewhat away from this: I feel it would crowd out any visual/performative enquiries and enforce too much of an academic modality on these. I think this move will free BoW, possibly can be altered for SYP. It will however also mean that some of my current commitments in Spring and early Summer will sit additionally to the course work, likely slowing the coursework down.

What I have arrived at with the articulation of the research proposal is a clear sense of what BoW consists of as a work programme (a series of performances in different registers, audience/participant compositions); I have also settled on a focus for the Research: the concept that I currently call near space, that I seek to investigate in contemporary performance/ drawing practice; which investigates some key themes for BoW: relationality, presence/absence and site. This feels important and useful and allows a focus that fits and can be refined further.

What follows below is a series of answers to some preliminary questions in Part 1 of Research, I will keep them here for future reference.

Reviewing your creative work

You’ve got two subject specialisms and two Level 3 courses (for now at least) and somehow you need to find a way to bring them all together as a coherent body of work. Think about the creative work you’re doing for Body of Work first.
1. Look back over the work you’ve just submitted to your tutor, consider their feedback and implement any changes that would improve the work. Now look at the work you’ve created so far for Body of Work and consider how it can relate to the work you’ll create in this course and vice versa. Identify a variety of ways in which the creative and written projects can interlink. Record your thoughts and explore a range of options. Will your creative work drive your written work or will it be the other way round? It doesn’t matter which it is, provided you are working to your strengths from each subject area.
  • I thinks the weighting is going to fairly equal: one informs the others and vice versa, I don’t want R to drive BoW, realistically, BoW will always be strongly informed by R; so 50:50 is a good aim
  • I don’t want BoW too be too intellectual, solely focused on academic means of interdisciplinarity: I had started to think about some of the hybrid forms between PPTs, diagrams and performative lectures but I don’t find this satisfying enough: it seems more of an institutional critique (and too trying, derivative a form for me to focus on solely). I will thus also not fold the talks at SAR or in Prespes into BoW but set them up as testing grounds for forms of R (and test the materials and how they can fold into other media formats).
  • Yet, what I had started to discuss as hybridity is important, and I think the works of HJ Giles and M Bleakley point towards something that then in Jones/ Heathfield eds 2012 is further explored: the performative as viral, activated in different forms and in different instantiations (their focus is strongly on history/memory but bears much significance to the questions that animate me).
  • I would like to use BoW as a lab/ experimentation ground for R and to use R to formulate questions/enquiries and then study/contextualise/push further the questions that BoW present as findings.
2. Now think about resources. Can any of the resources you’ve identified in Exercise 3 help you with your creative work? Make a plan of action for accessing these resources. Will you need to visit a specific location, collection, exhibition, practitioner, design group, artist collaboration, performance, installation, recital, reading or conference? Can you access a record of these resources online?
  • I am not so worried about particular resources and access just yet: most of what I identify is writing/ artworks for artists that are reasonably well documents/ accessible. This may change though and I started to attend to conferences, exhibitions and performances coming up. My plan is to see a reasonable amount of live performances (both live art/theatre but also more artistic) over the duration of the final modules to get a good sense of what is going on (and am well placed for this in Glasgow/Edinburgh)
  • I would like to set up/ test out my own materials/ processes fairly soon though: I am thinking of either a reading group, 1:1 private performances/meetings with artist colleagues, later some workshop/ more public settings >> I am not sure if this will create material for BoW or inform the R (perhaps it will do both)
Now identify what you’d like to achieve from your creative work in Body of Work and think how you could use your research project to help you achieve some of these goals
    Write down answers to the following questions:
  • I want to consolidate skills in …
    • performance and interdisciplinary work
    • drawing as in relation to the above and an expanded field
    • conceptual art making that attends to the phenomenological and the sensorial
  • I want to produce …
    • a body of work that speaks to my concern
    • a body of work that offers multiple entry and exit points as well as routes through
    • a body of work that uses a range of approaches that originate within photography and drawing and move beyond these in an interdisciplinary field
    • a body of work that is effective with time/space (duration, pace, rhythm, site, place and space and ourselves within it)
  • I want to promote my work to …
    • be recognised locally both for my academic/ facilitation work as well as contemporary art practice
    • be able to navigate art contexts further afield (UK, but also NL, DE) primarily through this BoW and an effective link to my Geog/facilitation self
  • I want to refine …
    • my understanding of an expanded field and contemporary performance approaches
    • an entry and presence around geographical debates within arts and a potential contribution
    • the analogue/digital
  • I want to explore …
    • intimate performance modalities (1:1)
    • the potential for solo performance
    • the role of audiences (present/absent, near/far)
    • moving registers across media forms (Jones/Heathfield)
  • I want to prove that …
    • production of space happens in intimacy/body-oriented performances; and discover more about the kind of space being produced in this
    • these spaces contain the potential to be utopian
    • and that they provide easy and accessible links to our understanding of drawing
  • I want to involve …
    • my self, my fear, my apprehension
    • my joy and laughter too
    • colleagues and strangers
    • earlier performances
    • writers and authors
  • I want to integrate …
    • most of the above works towards such aim.


Research A1: dissertation proposal

this post concludes assignment 1 of Research with the dissertation proposal. The work leading up to this is a set of questions and exchange with my tutor prior to this draft.

The near space in an expanded field of drawing: interdisciplinarity, hybridity and contact

Research proposal for Creative Arts, Research
Gesa Helms | #492645
27 April 2019

This dissertation proposal seeks to support my Body of Work drawing/contact with an investigation into the kinds of relational spaces that are created in an expanded field of drawing. Here it begins with drawing as a performative practice and in turn seeks to understand performance as a drawing practice. If performance is centred on the body of the performer within a specific unfolding time frame – a presence, can we then be curious about the kinds of spaces this is productive of: relationally, sensorially and materially?

That such spaces exist in the present time also indicates that they may be past or anticipated, have a memory, an excess as well as an absence (performance art in art history presents precisely this dilemma). Jones & Heathfield’s (2012) edited collection centres on these kinds of presences and absences created, asking also how these by implication draw in a whole range of other media – such as photography, writing, drawing, re-performance, video – to access the live performance positing an important concern regarding interdisciplinarity and shifts in form, register and media.

Centring on the body of the performer and the experiential foregrounds both the material (older and newer materialism) as well as the sensorial (likely accessed through phenomenological means).

The Research dissertation will attend to:

(a) existing practices that engage with this

(b) a set of enquiries/ research questions that are driven through these and animate the dissertation as well as BoW.

  • how do these writers inform my enquiry?
  • how does contemporary performance practice do so?
  • what is there about what constitutes the work: the shifting of medium, register, encounter: how do we make contact within this?
  • who is the audience? subject/object? author?

See the PDF for the full proposal, its links to BoW and relevant key texts and resources: Research Proposal A1 Near Space


BoW: what i will be doing

Gesa Helms

5 April at 13:18 · 

Wednesday morning I say what it is that I will be doing:
– a series of performance pieces/ drawings
– a couple of workshop/event things and 
– some documentation of the above.

That is it. 
The spatial praxis/ production of space/ site-thing will be part of it as building out and up from the encounters that constitute each. It will be utopian in its concrete practice. Nothing more, nothing less (I would love to call it Beziehungsweise Revolution/ relationally: revolution, but that title is already taken, unfortunately).
The documentation will be either in book or in moving image form.
Each segment/ section will address or: can address a particular question/ enquiry.
I am uncertain if the talks will be part of it or generally merely context. I think that is part of the wider question of what constitutes the site/ the work, i.e., really: if we talk an expanded field of drawing, do we need to have a sense of what is not part of it? what is absent? outside? and, why would that be useful. In that sense, I will have a consideration of distance/closeness in this too, and at that point it loops back into the overall thematic of drawing/contact.

The first four events in drawing/contact are intimate and in hindsight, retrospect. I am testing how these relate to the theme and what they do medium/discipline-wise. I am trying not to be too wilful with them, to let them hover for as long as they need to. In some ways, these take inspiration from the events around the line, and reworking the line for the workshop in July into a photo essay and presentation will be great. The drawing/contact encounters are different though as they transgress media/ reach. They are possibly less concerned with secrets and veracity but more curious about the contact, the stuff enacted, where and when it reaches, etc.

In this, then, the line, the Gap, and the wider corridor thematic are aufgehoben in the best dialectical sense: they are concluded and superseded into a qualitatively new question (I remember how for each time that aufheben needed translation I was stuck, as stuck as I am now as there is no equivalent in English).

transitions from there to here (1)

Moving from the end of Drawing 2 and towards Research/Body of Work has been swift — D2 was completed and submitted for assessment considerably earlier than planned; and it was ready to be done so.

This also means that from early Summer onwards thoughts and ideas were beginning to form around Level 3 and its focus — most of these are methodological: the how that connects the what. Yet, there is also a set of themes and enquiries that I did not pursue with Drawing 2.

The parallel project did become a video right at the end, and one thats plays with the actual framing of the work: is the instruction an instruction or part of the work itself? where is the actual space/ site of the work and who is part of it:

Initially, however, the moving image work that I was intent on producing would take the corridor itself far more as site and actually engage with it visually and performatively further than what Parallel Praxis does (in PP, the corridor mainly exists in sound: the movement noises of passing through it, doors opening and closing and my narrating of it).

The early impulse for the corridor were a series of popular culture references — some gothic, some horror, which followed from this early study of the boundary between corridor and office:

The references were in part from the American Horror Story anthology (Asylum, Murder House and Hotel in particular); as well as of course this:


Throughout Drawing 2, I investigated various means to visually work with the space of the corridor, to draw, film, sound it out — the problem of presence and visibility remained. Early on, my tutor and I discussed means by which to set up an enquiry elsewhere: to treat it like a residency elsewhere, not as the space that I actually encroach on, seek my own legitimacy. This issue would resurface in various ways and eventually, for Assignment 3 (Green (Did I work hard enough)) lead to my departure from the space towards one green space and then another still.

The second means of working with the corridor would of course be in fiction, imagination, fantasy: to pursue a series of strategies in which the corridor mainly is a reference point, a marker from which a series of investigation spiral outwards. I was seeking such an approach early on, but know from experience too that most of my investigations tend to follow on, hold on to, notions of the real, an actual observation, experience for a rather long time before an opening towards a fiction of these emerges. So, during Drawing 2 that fictitious corridor did not exist.

However, right at the end of the module, through Assignment 5 m(e)use|use me, it begun to present itself: the box/artist book of 12 prints crumpled up that traced a year with the corridor pursued visually and performatively an opening out towards an other space, another presence of the corridor.

— In m(e)use, the corridor becomes a handling collection: invisible, yet present, and as the pages are unfolded, they link towards the corridor itself, operate clearly as representation and an object in their own right. Many of the photographs themselves operate as optical illusions, or perhaps, better: as attempts to seek alternative spatial configurations, constellations; to open out: forward, elsewhere; to offer alternative readings, practices and presences.


statement of intent

— I adapt from my final course reflection note for the Drawing 2 assessment and sent this as my statement of intent for Level 3.

Statement of intent for Level 3

I would like to continue at the point where my recent module, Drawing 2 concluded (and am for this statement drawing on my earlier self-assessment with some reworking and expanding for what may lie ahead). The final projects (m(e)use|use me; the Hornet Tree, the Critical Review on an expanded field of drawing) as well as the realisation to the Parallel Project, Parallel Praxis, all begun to articulate a notion and practice of drawing in an expanded, interdisciplinary field. Here, drawing emerges as a set of enquiries, methods and processes in which performance, photography, writing, installation and more traditional drawing processes interact and mutually inform each other.

The parallel project indeed relates and looks back to the previous module itself, it reorganises the materials and lets them become something else still. The video is not merely a narration, an instruction; I begun to include the key clips – visual, and also found sound recordings – in the work to author it and let it unfold. In this sense, it draws on a number of senses and sensations, and indeed revolves around an exploration of a body (mine) as drawing tool, investigating the reaches of what constitutes an extended field of drawing. It speaks out of the screen to ask the viewer to engage directly with some other materials. With this, it resonates with both Joan Jonas’s and Katrina Palmers’s work: they engage, performatively, and in doing so make visible and audible that engagement between artist and audience, viewer, reader, interlocutor. Will it work? Does it fail? What happens instead? In this parallel project, there is a literal voice – mine – and in its clarity it also helps to articulate all those other voices that are involved in my art-making, an art-making  that is visual, textual, increasingly dares to be performative; it takes in things I learned before: critical social theory; dialectics; a body/dreamwork coaching and counselling training; a dissatisfaction with academic publishing; a keenness on finding those other spaces and places that are never entirely utopian but offer a hunch, a first step from here to there.

Besides the actual projects that constitute the body of work of Drawing 2, there is something also in the tools that I used and which for the assessment submission refigured as a portfolio without large sheets of paper but instead a series of folders and pouches that relate and point towards some of the digital parts (FB albums, e.g.). This process of working with materials that are common, and in some ways mimic office work processes was important and I feel it may also structure some of my future enquiries. It also deepened my engagement with a movement between digital and analogue (continuing from DI&C). It also continues with questions over what constitutes site, audience, work > explored in different ways and always with an exploration of this movement digital/analogue (initially: gap, agency, control (generative systems, drawing machines); then: what constitutes drawing; the kind of tools: office tools).

The issues with regards to voice/ themes and practice that clarified during this final Level 2 module were:

  • humour and how I instigate processes that allow me to arrive at resolved pieces
  • the relationship to conceptual and intellectual concerns (institutional critique, production of space)
  • working across a range of media/approaches and finding ways to integrate them with each other and use that integration in innovative ways (photography, writing, performance, drawing)

It is then on the basis of these emerging working practices, conceptual concerns and emerging clarity and articulation of voice that I would like to approach Level 3. I do not at the moment have a clear theme or project or site in mind but rather would like to pursue and clarify the approach towards an embodied, sensorial and expanded field of drawing as artistic practice. There are a number of technical skills and approaches I am interested in: moving image/ video (possibly even 16mm film); darkroom techniques; screenprinting; performance; but none of these are fixed and I trust that the suitability of any of these will emerge in relation to the actual projects. Similarly, I am very interested in pursuing further my investigations into sites (interior/exterior) as well as movement between these. It may make sense to prepare and arrange for an actual site to serve as a field site for the Body of Work (and thus move it out of ongoing work arrangements).

There are a number of themes which are geographical, environmental that keep concerning me and they possibly should have a place within this project (as well as in more academic writing/ research practices):

  • there is a continuous theme running throughout which concerns questions over copy, reproduction, repetition and difference, and, as it becomes clear in the later part of the module, this concerns both the surface, the background of the actual artwork as well as that it stretches beyond and outwards from it: what kind of space do we perceive, live, practice?
  • a further articulation of what these pieces say to each other and beyond towards a potentially much larger exploration around space, performance, the sensorial, interdisciplinarity and institutional critique

My intention for the timeline for Level 3 is relatively focussed: I would like to conclude the majority of it by the end of 2019, with the aim to exhibit (or suitable alternative) early in 2020. My reasoning for this to a good part revolves around the Research element: I am actively writing through academic material around earlier projects and have the sense that a 5k word dissertation should, once the theme and direction is clear, be a fairly focused endeavour for me.

Examples of current work:

The line (Digital Image and Culture):


Learning log post:

The Gap

Documentation and learning log post and final:

The hornet tree

Learning log post:

m(e)use | use me

Documentation and learning log post:

Parallel praxis

Learning log post: